The Bay Area News Group, which includes this newspaper, captured 12 first-place awards and 14 second-place awards this weekend from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the most of any of the state's news organizations.

BANG swept the best overall columnist awards as Mark Purdy won best columnist for a set of sports columns, while fellow sports columnist Tim Kawakami won second in that category.

BANG photographers received a trove of awards. Jane Tyska won two first-place awards, for news photo and for a photo essay on the transplant saga of young Matthew Ouimet of Antioch. Dai Sugano won first place in feature photos for a picture from the "Cost of Dying" series, about the complexities of end-of-life decisions, and Doug Duran got second in that category.

Pat Tehan won first place for sports photo. Doug Duran got second in that category, and Nhat V. Meyer won first place for news photo for a photo titled "Grieving Brother." Susan Tripp Pollard won first place for a photo essay in weekly newspapers about the move of the Masonic Temple in Concord, and Anda Chu won first place for a photo essay on violence in Oakland after the George Zimmerman verdict.

The San Jose Mercury News won a second-place award for overall business coverage.

Among the individual winners from BANG newsrooms:

Bruce Newman won best writing for his piece on a San Jose homeless encampment known as "The Jungle," and Mark Emmons won second in that same category.

Pai Wei won best graphic illustration for his dissection of the new Bay Bridge. Chris Wagnon won first place for page layout for the Walnut Creek Journal. Daniel Borenstein won first place for editorial comment for a piece about the Brentwood school district's failure to protect students from a teacher suspected of child abuse.

In the overall tally, BANG got 26 first- or second-place awards. The Los Angeles News Group, part of the same media organization, garnered 24. The Los Angeles Times received 22 awards, including first place in general excellence for newspapers with more than 150,000 circulation. The San Francisco Chronicle received 14 awards.

"These awards are a powerful reminder of something our readers already know: The staff of the Bay Area News Group is among the best in the business, producing top-notch reporting, writing, photography, illustration and design every day of the year," said Bert Robinson, managing editor/content for BANG. "Our organization is fortunate to employ so many talented individuals."

Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.